Dirty laundry experiments with homemade laundry detergent

Be careful using your food processor for the initial grating! I just broke my piece that the grater fits onto and then goes into the hole mounting it in the bowl. The Fels is very very hard and if it “hangs up” in the grater it can snap the part. This is my 4th batch I have made and I absolutely love the stuff. Have a friend who splits each batch with me and we are amazed at the old stains that come out in a wash with this! Fresh smelling laundry room but clothes just smell “clean”. My clothes are brighter and cleaner that ever and softer, too, without all the residue other detergents leave behind. Occasionally I add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse but even if i do not use that my clothes are so much softer. I will never use fabric softeners again — they leave so much residue that it builds up.


Try this and see what a difference it makes in your laundry! BTW, the Fels is THE BEST stain remover ever! If you have a spot, wet it and rub Fels into the spot before washing (I use the little leftover nub that I end up with when finished grating). I have used it on my carpeted car mats which were 6 years old and they looked like new (did them outdoors NOT in washer!! Wet them and rubbed them down well with the Fels and then used a scrub brus and water hose to rinse.) Even takes old artist’s oil paint spots out of my clothes! Can’t be beat!

DIY laundry detergent is amazing! To answer your questions from my expierence and research (as a non professional, just a concerned mother trying to do her part)! So the ratings given on Oxi Clean Versatile Stain Remover, not the Free and Clear version on Good Guide and EWG were poor, so at first I ordered Seventh Generation oxygen bleach on Amazon and it was expensive! The two ingredients were sodium carbonate (washing soda) and sodium precarbonate (powdered hydrogen peroxide), both safe for your family, environment, and aquatic life (it breaks down to table salt). But than I found Sun Oxygen Bleach (at Walmart, Big Lots, commissaries, even Dollar Stores), and it has the same exact ingredients and is significantly cheaper than Oxyclean free and clear (which has the same ingredients and not the extra chemicals found in the Versatile Stain Remover version). As for Downy Unstoppables, they do smell heavenly, but are heavily scented and dyed (I imagine with those harsh chemicals we are avoiding)! So I use Purex Crystals, they are 87% natural and I believe are just Epsom salt (a natural water softener) and the scent (unfortunately that’s probably the 13% unnatural part). Like you said, they do not stick to clothes, so they really are not needed, but they are visually pleasing and do scent your laundry room! For those who want to stay clear of the chemicals in Fels Namptha (though that laundry bar is not kidding around- it takes out any stain!), I recommend Kirk’s Castille Soap for hard water (found in the body soap aisle for around $1 a piece), it does a great job and is the more natural alternative.

My recipe is similar to everyone’s except I do not use downy unstopables due allergies and is strictly powder because I don’t like the liquid. I always make 3 to 6 batches at once and 3 batches fits nicely in a coffee can and I have a smaller container in the laundry room I refill from the cans as needed. One day I will eventually make enough to last our family a whole year if not longer but a full coffee can lasts my family 5 to 6 months. AWESOME SAVINGS!

I manually shred the fels, add one cup each dry ingredient and let my food processor do the rest of the work. I used to use a coffee grinder to make it an ultra fine powder but I finally overworked it and it broke …ooops. NEVER use a regular blender to mix this product I have killed 4 blenders the motor just isn’t strong enough to handle the dry ingredients.

White vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser is equal to name brand fabric softeners and eliminates the need to clean your HE washer each month; A lot of people with HE washers are very paranoid about using anything that isn’t commercially labeled as HE safe but I have had my HE washer for 2 years now and once I saw the price tag on HE detergents determined I needed to cut corners immediately.

Im a wannabe homesteader and this was my first foray into it !. I gathered all the ingredients and then got out my regular blender added alittle of the baking soda so my soap would not sitck to the blender, cut up my soap in chunks and hit pulse. That made fast work out of it and the grater became obsolete quick. I was also thinking that if you use a grater and wash in cold water that soap may not dissolve quickly or evenly. I layered the ingedients in a 5 gallon free icing bucket I got from the Kroger bakery and mixed it up. Smelled great ! So here comes the test my husband and sons dirty socks and underwear and general laundry. I used the scoop that came with the oxy clean and put 2 scoops in the bottom and then washed on warm. I’m here to tell everyone that it actually worked. My clothes were not stinky but soft, there is no smell left after I took them out of the dryer. I am not used to that so I was worried ??? Geez, they didn’t get clean because they weren’t over perfumed. I’m elated and someething so simple and cheap fills the bill. After the big success with the recipe I did find and use homemade softener, oh yeah that worked too. We have all been conditioned to think that sudsy means clean. I’m still getting used the no suds and not much smell but thanks to everyone who commented for the good tips. I might in the future buy a small box of commercial powder to add to the mix for alittle suds and smell. I love the recipe. Now go try it.

I’ve read over your post with interest, however can I offer my humble opinion. I think you have several unnecessary ingredients here that are actually doing the same thing, which you can see when you consider what they break down to once they are put in water. Let me illustrate. Firstly, the sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, NaHCO3, is just producing a single protonated form of the carbonate ion CO3 which is just acting as a buffer to the alkalinity and counteracting the effect of the washing soda, Na2CO3, which when it hits the water will also form HCO3 by increasing the pH. So unless you really need the pH to be neutral (if you are washing extremely delicate fabrics), you are actually reducing the efficacy of your other washing soda ingredient. However, with that removed you are still doubling up on ingredients here because when you add the sodium percarbonate (oxyclean, 2Na2CO3.3H2O2) to the water it decomposes into hydrogen peroxide (oxygen bleach) and washing soda (Na2CO3), so you could leave out the borax (source of oxygen bleach and water softener) and washing soda (anion to lower pH and water softener) since sodium percarbonate decomposes to produce both. Alternately, you could leave out sodium percarbonate and washing soda and use borax (Na2B4O7·10H2O) alone to produce oxygen bleach, lower the pH with the [B4O5(OH)4]2− ion and act as a water softener. Thirdly, you could leave out both the percarbonate and borax and use washing soda (Na2CO3) to get a high pH and soften water if you didn’t want oxygen bleach, or use half the washing soda and half of ONE OF the borax OR percarbonate to get a smaller oxygen bleach effect. It seems to me all you really need is one of these three combined with the actual soap (zota or fels) to get the effect you want, obviously using more to ensure that you still end up with the same effect. Hope this might help anyone tweak their mix to make it simpler.